Joint motion for a resolution - RC-B6-0109/2007Joint motion for a resolution



pursuant to Rule 115(5) of the Rules of Procedure, by
replacing the motions by the following groups: on Nigeria

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European Parliament resolution on Nigeria

The European Parliament,

-  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, particularly Articles 2, 3, 5, 7, 18 and 19 thereof,

-  having regard to the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, particularly Articles 2, 6, 7, 17, 18, 19 and 22 thereof,

-  having regard to the International Covenant of Economic, Social and Political Rights, particularly Article 12 thereof,

-  having regard to the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, particularly Articles 5 and 7 thereof,

-  having regard to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of the Council of Europe and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights,

-  having regard to Article 9 of the Partnership Agreement between the Members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, of the one part, and the European Community and its Member States, of the other part (Cotonou Agreement),

-  having regard to the Nigerian Constitution,

-  having regard to its previous resolutions of 18 January 2006 on homophobia in Europe and 15 June 2006 on the increase in racist and homophobic violence in Europe,

-  having regard to Rule 115(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas on 19 January 2006 the Nigerian Federal Minister of Justice submitted to the Federal Executive Council a 'Bill for an Act to make provision for the prohibition of sexual relationships between persons of the same sex, celebration of marriage by them and for other matters connected herewith', entitled the Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Bill 2006,

B.  whereas the bill criminalises same-sex marriage, defined by Article 2 as the 'coming together of two persons of the same gender or sex in a civil union, marriage, domestic partnership or other form of same sex relationship for the purposes of cohabitation as husband and wife', as well as the 'registration of gay clubs, societies and organisations by whatever name they are called' and any 'publicity, procession and public show of same-sex amorous relationships through the electronic or print media, physically, directly, indirectly or otherwise',

C.  whereas under Article 7 of the bill 'any person who is involved in the registration of gay clubs, societies and organisations, sustenance, procession or meetings, publicity and public show of same-sex amorous relationships directly or indirectly in public and in private is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a term of five years' imprisonment',

D.  whereas the House of Representatives and the Senate of the Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria approved the bill at first and second reading, and whereas the third and final reading is expected before the end of the parliamentary term,

E.  whereas, at a joint public hearing that took place before the Women's Affairs, Human Rights and Justice Committees of the House of Representatives on 14 February 2007, a large group of civil society organisations expressed their concern at the human rights implications of the bill and its unconstitutionality, the UNAIDS representative in Nigeria highlighted the negative impact of the bill on HIV/AIDS prevention, and the Nigerian Human Rights Commission expressed similar concerns, raising doubts about the need for such legislation,

F.  deeply concerned that criminal prosecution of individuals based on their real or alleged sexual orientation and gender identity or expression may lead to serious discrimination and human rights abuses, including torture and ill-treatment, and constitute an incitement to violence and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals and, more generally, individuals whose behaviour or lifestyle does not match typical sexual or gender norms,

G.  deeply concerned at the restrictions to their rights of freedom of assembly, freedom of expression and freedom of association which LGBT individuals, and civil society in general, would face,

H.  deeply concerned at the consequences for human rights defenders, who, on the basis of the provisions outlined above, cannot argue against the human rights implications of the law without being held to be in breach of the law,

I.  concerned that the law would hinder effective action in the fields of sexual rights and efforts to prevent HIV transmission, with serious consequences for the enjoyment of the right to health of many individuals and communities,

J.  deeply concerned that the bill, by failing to guarantee basic civil liberties and human rights, is inherently contradictory for a democracy and may be used as a tool of censorship and repression, undermining the current electoral process and the democratic development of the country,

K.  concerned about the alleged lack of transparency in the parliamentary procedure on the bill, the attempts by the Nigerian authorities to avoid dialogue with civil society, and the impact in terms of guaranteeing the basic principles of fairness and the rule of law,

L.  deeply concerned that approval of this bill could have negative consequences in other African countries, which would be encouraged to follow the same path and thus be dissuaded from reviewing laws and practices which discriminate against and persecute LGBT people,

M.  concerned that this bill would stand in clear contradiction to the landmark 1994 pronouncement by the United Nations Human Rights Committee in the case Toonen v. Australia, when it held that sexual orientation should be understood to be a status protected from discrimination under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and to the appeal by the same committee urging States to repeal laws criminalising homosexuality and to enshrine prohibition of discrimination based on sexual orientation in their constitutions,

N.  supportive of the work of a growing number of countries at international level which are urging UN bodies to adopt a resolution on persecution on the basis of sexual orientation and the decriminalisation of homosexuality in the world, and recalling its endorsement of the International Day Against Homophobia in 2006,

1.  Calls on the Nigerian authorities, and in particular the House of Representatives and the Senate of the Nigerian Assembly, to refrain from approving the bill in its current form;

2.  Takes the view that the bill in its current form constitutes a violation of the international and regional human rights obligations of the Federal Republic of Nigeria;

3.  Calls on the Commission, the Council and the Member States to intervene by requesting the Nigerian authorities refrain from approving the bill in its current form;

4.  Calls on the Commission, the Council and the Member States, should the bill be approved, to reconsider the development and cooperation relationship between the European Union and its Member States and Nigeria under Article 9 of the Cotonou Agreement;

5.  Calls on the Nigerian authorities to review existing laws that penalise consensual same-sex sexual conduct between adults, to promote and protect human rights, without any kind of discrimination, and the acceptance and integration of LGBT people in all areas of society, and to guarantee them protection from persecution and discrimination and access to justice and redress;

6.  Draws attention to the health risks faced by lesbian and gay people and calls on the Nigerian Government to improve its HIV/AIDS prevention efforts in this area;

7.  Calls on the Commission, the Council and the Member States to systematically include in discussions on human rights and fundamental freedoms with ACP countries, and third countries in general, the issue of the persecution of or discrimination against persons on the basis of their sexual orientation, and to take appropriate progressive measures when similar human rights violations;

8.  Calls on the Commission, the Council and the Member States to take every possible step at international level to stop persecution on the basis of sexual orientation and to encourage decriminalisation, such as the adoption of a resolution on these issues by UN bodies, and decides to celebrate every year, on 17 May, International Day Against Homophobia;

9.  Stresses the important role of human rights defenders who peacefully advocate respect for the fundamental rights of LGBT people and who provide assistance when discrimination occurs;

10.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Minister of Justice of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Nigerian Assembly, the President and Deputy President of the Senate of the Nigerian Assembly, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the President of the Commission of the African Union and the Chair of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.